Writing Fiction: 3 Interesting (And Profitable) Author Sidelines

Many authors look at writing fiction as writing novels and short stories.

That’s not the only way to profit from your imagination. As you’re aware, the self-publishing industry is vast, and offers many opportunities if you enjoy storytelling.

Writing fiction: you have many opportunities other than publishing

We’ve looked at various ways of making money from your creativity already, including traditional publishing, ghostwriting, writing serials, and so on.

Recently I chatted with three authors with interesting and profitable sidelines.

Let’s look at the sidelines, starting with film treatments.

1. Treatments: viewers want stories

A friend, Dina, writes film treatments for production companies. She got into writing treatments by accident.

“I was at a party,” she said. “Someone was moaning about how unreliable writers are and how one writer was costing him thousands of dollars. Long story short, he was the head of a tiny production company, and needed a treatment for a short training film.”

A “treatment” is basically just the story. It can be written in various ways. Dina says if she’d forced, she can write a treatment over the course of a lazy afternoon.

Dina’s written several treatments and says she and a friend are discussing starting their own production company.

Crafting newsletters for other authors can also be a great little sideline.

2. Newsletters are vital: they can become a sideline for you

Over the years, I’ve written many newsletters for companies, some of them global operations.

Authors send out newsletters too, often under protest. One of my students, Tom, ghostwrites fiction for a stable of top-selling authors. He also writes monthly newsletters for five of them.

How did he get the gigs? “I was asked,” he said. “An author in one of my writing groups didn’t know what to include in a reader newsletter. When I offered some suggestions, she asked me to write it.”

Tom crafts the complete newsletters for his authors, including at least one new short story in each one.

Treatments and newsletters are all very well. But what if you could turn crafting outlines into a side hustle?

3. Outlines, and more: are you good at structuring fiction?

Penny writes outlines for a small independent publishing company. However, these are more than your typical outlines. In a way, they’re similar to complete novels.

Not only does Penny include characters, settings, and scenes, she often adds dialogue too. An outline might be 20,000 words.

“I’m happy with the profits,” she says. “I make the same from an outline as I’d make from one of my own novels over a year or two.”

How did she start creating her outlines?

She says she ghosted a couple of novels for the publisher. They wanted to branch out into a new genre and needed to hire writers, but they wanted each novel to be written to a strict formula.

Penny handles structure well. “They said they liked my characters, and wanted to know about my writing process. Would I be interested if they commissioned me for an outline a month? Of course, I accepted. The outlines are fun.”

Be alert to opportunities when you’re writing fiction

So, we’ve looked at three sideline gigs; ways of making extra money writing fiction:

  • Treatments.
  • Newsletters.
  • Outlines.

The global market for fiction is in the billions of dollars. It’s a huge market, and although most authors write novels, there are many other opportunities too.

Introducing: The One Week Fiction Author: Have Fun And Turn Your Imagination Into Profits

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You can. “The One Week Fiction Author: Have Fun And Turn Your Imagination Into Profits” is a program designed specifically for new authors. It’s for you if you’re ready to kickstart your writing career and transform your imagination into a profitable business.

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